Copper Is Dead, Right? Not So G.Fast and Furious, My Friend

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

  • Telco copper, much maligned by cable operators and FTTH proponents, may still have a lifespan of another 100 years – to paraphrase the CEO of Australian incumbent operator Telstra – thanks to ongoing technology R&D that will eventually enable multi-gigabit connections over the copper plant.
  •  Fiber-to-the-drop-point (FTTdp) will be a de facto FTTH technology, enabling operators to deliver fiber-speed, ultra-broadband connections by leveraging deep fiber architectures with last-run copper plant, supporting speeds of up to 1 Gbps with G.Fast and 5 Gbps in the not-so-distant future.

American author and humorist Mark Twain once said, “Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated,” and when it comes to the impending demise of telco copper, Twain’s quote has already been overused (I will be the first to plead guilty). For much of the last decade, the wonders of fiber access, or FTTH, have been touted as the end-all, be-all wireline access technology, with fiber evangelists aggressively lobbying across the planet for the upgrade of telco networks to full-fiber as soon as possible. This includes well-established and respected industry groups such as the various FTTH Councils in Europe, Asia and the Americas, which are the “tip of the spear” for fiber network lobbying, as well as high-profile politicians, most notably Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s Commissioner for Digital Agenda. Continue reading “Copper Is Dead, Right? Not So G.Fast and Furious, My Friend”